In 1994, Seau helped lead San Deigo to their first and only AFC title and a trip to the Super Bowl before falling to the San Francisco 49ers in the championship game.
The 1994 Charger team will be fondly remembered for their on-the-field accomplishments, however, there is also a darker reason for which they will be remembered; including Seau, eight members of San Diego’s first Super Bowl team have all passed away, and all were younger than 45 years of age at the time of their deaths.
In addition to Seau’s early death, the following is a list of all the other players from the team who have died:
In 2011,Lew Bush died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 42.
Also in 2011, Shawn Lee died also of a heart attack at the age of 44.
In 2008, both Chris Mims (age 38) and Curtis Whitley (age 39) passed away. Mims died of an enlarged heart, and Whitley died of an overdose.
Doug Miller was killed by a tragic lightening strike in 1998 at the age of 28.
In 1996, Rodney Culver was the victim of a tragic ValuJet crash; he was only 26-years-old.
In 1995, David Griggs lost his life in a car accident at the age of 28.
While some of these are clearly acts of fate, many believe that football could have played part in some of them: particularly in the case of Seau, Bush, Lee, Mims, and Whitley.
The tragedies surrounding this team, as well as other NFL players who have met early deaths, have left many wondering if there are lasting effects stemming from the violence of the game.
I assume that there will be many studies over the next few years to see if there is indeed any correlation to the physicality of the sport and untimely death.
Until then, we will remember those who have left us–far too soon.